Emanuel served as President Obama's first White House chief of staff.

Ricketts released a statement Thursday that said the proposal "reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take. Mr. Ricketts intends to work hard to help elect a President this fall who shares his commitment to economic responsibility, but his efforts are and will continue to be focused entirely on questions of fiscal policy, not attacks that seek to divide us socially or culturally."

Presumptive Republican candidate Mitt Romney later said personal attacks were the "wrong course for a PAC or a campaign."

But alienating the Obama campaign could prove quite costly for the Ricketts. According to a report earlier this month in the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel had developed a plan that could generate some $150 million in funds for a comprehensive renovation.